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Mar 21, 2012 11:08 AM

Hollywood Chow-ography!

Hi all,

I just signed a lease for an apt in Hollywood (La Brea btwn Hollywood and Sunset). I would love to learn something from all of you re the eating and shopping in this neighborhood, and hopefully it will become a resource for others travelling to or through.

I saw a couple of Ralphs within a few blocks that will do for the middle of the store items like cereal and tea, jam, frozen stuff, etc. Is there a "nice" big box grocery store not too far away? Just clean and updated, carrying some higher grade cheeses, deli stuffs, and produce? Not like a Bristol Farms or anything. I shopped occasionally at WF and Gelson's back when I lived on the westside 6 yrs ago, but this is a little pricey for everyday stuff.

Please fill in my blanks for (1) bakeries (bread, rolls, breakfast pastries - not so much cake etc - is La Brea the best in this area?), (2) produce (Hollywood FM?), (3) meat and fish. I'm a strong convert to local, organic, grass fed meats and sustainable fish where I can get it (since reading all the Pollan-esque books). We have a great coop where I currently live (out of state) that has these high grade proteins, and when they start to get old, they mark them down by $1-$5, which makes it actually affordable. So, where are the good protein grocers and do they discount similarly?

Finally, what's good in this area for casual takeout (lunch/dinner)? I'm open to all cuisines (sandwich, salad, pizza, sushi, chinese, thai, indian, italian, russian). I'd love to know if there is anything in this neighborhood like Bay Cities italian deli (Santa Monica). Or other local market/deli/bakery treasures.

The only thing I don't request suggestions/recs about is high end dining and bars/nightclubs. Not my thing at the moment.

Thank you so much for your help!

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  1. Welcome! You are moving to an area that I think has great food offerings... and very timely... I have had doctor's appointments in the area for the past month and these are the places I stopped by yesterday.
    Spicy BBQ (known for their Northern Thai but they have the usual suspects as well). Corner of Normandie & Santa Monica. Get the No Thai Larb and their serrano chile dip (if you can stand spicy) this is what I had for lunch yesterday.
    Sasoun Bakery (across Santa Monica from Spicy BBQ). Delicious Armenian items. Got an assortment of each yesterday and they are delicious: spicy cheese beorek, spinach beorek, maneishe (baked thin flatbread with herbs and spices (zaatar)), Lahmajine (same as the maneishe but with a meat mixture), tahini bread (sweet, crisp bread made from tahini). They also have other locations in Glendale, La Crescenta, Reseda and Van Nuys.
    I have also done Umami Burger which was good (the truffle fries are to die for!). Personally, I love La Parrilla which is south? west? on Sunset. Good Mexican food. Masa is delicious (same general area) - they have Chicago deep dish pizza (call and order in advance) and DON'T miss their croissant bread pudding.
    You have Sapp Coffee Shop for the Boat Noodles (Vietnamese), Jitlada (fantastic, spicy Thai). Guatamalteca for Guatemalan food. Ye Rustic Inn for hot wings, there are so many more. A lot of people have been talking about Wat Dong Moon Lek, but I have not been yet.
    Guatamalteca - 4770 Santa Monica Blvd. (1 block west of Vermont); LA, (323) 663-8307

    4 Replies
    1. re: WildSwede

      Sorry! I just realized my recs are about a 10-15 minute drive away from where you are. However, they are all good and worth trying!

      1. re: WildSwede

        I think I can handle 10-15 minutes :) Thanks for all the recs! You know, for hot wings, I really like the Hot Wings Cafe on Melrose. We used to pick these up on our way to the H-Bowl pre kids. That and a bottle of wine - we were super high class : )

        What I like about HWC is that they properly render the skin, so it's not rubbery, but crisp. And the "hot" which is really a medium is just the right spice level for me.

        Thanks again for the takeout suggestions.

        1. re: sasha1

          ;-) My current fave is Wing Stop. I used to eat at the Hot Wings when I worked in Glendale - it was on our usual lunch rotation. The one that is now closer to me is the Old Town Pasadena one, but I try to stay away from that mad house as much as possible!

          1. re: WildSwede

            Wings are so bad for you, and so so good. I could probably eat 20 at a time, but I know better.

      2. First of all, good bets for local, organic, grass fed meats and sustainable fish are the two
        farmers markets:

        Hollywood Farmers Market - Sunday 8am-1pm
        centered on Selma and Ivar (near Amoeba Records)

        West Hollywood Farmers Market - Monday 9am-2pm
        at Plummer Park - N Vista and Fountain Ave

        The Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax has two very good butchers, Marconda Meats and Huntington Meats, but I don't think they have much in the way of organic and sustainable meat.

        There also an artisinal butcher that opened a year ago on Fairfax:

        Lindy & Grundy's
        801 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

        I haven't been there, so I don't know what their organic / sustainable offerings are.

        For takeout/delivery, my favorite places when I lived near Sunset and Crescent a few years ago:

        Greenblatt's Delicatessen & Fine Wine Shop
        8017 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046
        - excellent pastrami and corned beef sandwiches

        2100 Laurel Canyon Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046
        - excellent pizza

        Vito's Pizza
        846 N La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

        Pinches Tacos
        8200 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046
        - decent tacos. A little pricy but great location.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Peripatetic

          Thank you! Typically farmers markets are cash only, right? If I'm buying proteins there, I'll have to bring more cash than I usually do. Do you know if there are any groceries that sell the type of higher quality meat I'm seeking, at a discount (i.e., too old, gotta move it off the shelf)? Otherwise, my tastes are generally more expansive than my budget : ) Not an uncommon problem I imagine.

          1. re: sasha1

            Yes the Hollywood Farmers Market is cash only. It's great though and not just for produce, there's a good selection of meats, fish and bread.

            McCall's Meat and Fish is a really nice butcher shop with grass fed meat and sustainable fish but they aren't cheap. They are about 3 miles east of you on Hillhurst.

            Oaks Gourmet Shop on Fairfax has a nice selection of gourmet goods, craft beers and prepared foods. They supposedly make a great burger and they have themed nights (sausage, grilled cheese, pizza, soup) which are worth checking out especially the grilled cheese night.

            There's a Trader Joe's very close to you just off Vine.

            K&L Wines -- one of the best wine shops in the country -- has a location on Vine & De Longpre and is a good source of spirits and craft beer as well. They have great wine tastings on Saturdays (usually $20 for 10 1 oz pours).

            Los Balcones del Peru has great Peruvian (also Vine & De Longpre). It's mostly a sit down restaurant but you can order to go.

            There's a pizza place that's not bad nearby. I can't remember the name of it but it's on Yucca between Vine & La Cahuenga.

            Cactus Mexican Food on Vine is a pretty good taco stand.

            I don't know of anything like Bay Cities but there's a nice little Italian Deli on Vermont Avenue in Los Feliz called Rocco's. They close very early.

            I'll second the recommendations of Jitlada, Sapp's Coffee Shop and Guatemalteca. I've never had a meal at Guatemalteca but they have great pastries.

            1. re: bg90027

              re: jitlada
              it is fairly easy to rack up a $40/pp meal there.
              if you are on a budget, it is imperative that you tally up the prices BEFORE you order.
              great food, though.

            2. re: sasha1

              Thanks to the wonderful leap forwards in technology like the square, many of the more 'pricy' farmers market vendors take credit cards including most of the meat and seafood vendors.


              1. re: Dommy

                Yay! That is great news. Do you know if they do at either the Hollywood or W Hol farmer's markets?

                1. re: Dommy

                  Interesting. I've never seen any with either a sign saying they do or seen anyone pay with credit card. Do you know any of the ones at the Hollywood Farmer's Market that do? I've left without buying some things I really wanted before because I didn't have enough cash and was in too much of a hurry to hit an ATM.

                  1. re: bg90027

                    It's been a while since I've been to the HFM, so I can't tell you the exact vendors, but the vendors of my market (Mar Vista) that take credit cards are the Meat Guys (Dey Dey's ) Seafood Vendor (Smart Fish) and Cheese Guy (MIlk Man). Just ask.


            3. Not many organic items, but Jons Marketplace has a very good selection of Middle Eastern bakery items. Definitely more on the 'discount' side, so shop carefully. Several locations near you:

              The Fairfax-Pico/BH/West Hollywood triangle has quite a few kosher markets and bagel shops, perhaps someone more 'local' can elaborate on their favorites.

              Fairfax Ave south of Olympic is known as 'Little Ethiopia' with both vegan and meat-eating options.

              1 Reply
              1. re: DiveFan

                AND at least a few of the ethiopian restaurants on fairfax offer an AYCE weekday lunch special.

              2. Thank you everyone for the replies! Please keep them coming. I value the farmer's market as a great resource, but sometimes, I don't have the cash on hand to buy a whole lot there. What about quality stores where I can get bread, produce, and sometimes meat/fish other than those already mentioned.

                Is there a store that sells lots of stuff in bulk? Spices, beans, granola, grains and legumes, teas, etc?

                Who is known in these parts to make the best bread for sandwiches and as a side to soups/stews?

                5 Replies
                1. re: sasha1

                  You might want to check out Erewhon. It's vegetarian only, and no cheaper than Whole Foods, but they have good produce and bulk bins and the quality is probably a bit better than Whole Foods.

                  7660 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                  1. re: Peripatetic

                    I've never heard of this one before, so thank you for bringing a new place into my radar. I love being able to buy a fistful of bulgar or a couple of tablespoons of ground ginger, so this might be a good find for me.

                    1. re: Peripatetic

                      Actually, Erewhon sells prepared meat, fish and chicken in their deli case in front. The chicken is very good. I like Erewhon but would not say the quality is better than Whole Foods. The selection at Whole Foods is much larger too.

                      1. re: BSW6490

                        Oh, never noticed the case with the meat. Has that always been there? Since moving to Pasadena three years ago I haven't been back.

                        I agree that WF selection is better, but I find much of their produce is often wilted or otherwise unloved.

                    2. re: sasha1

                      Spice Station on Sunset in Silver Lake is a good place to buy spices. They'll make custom blends for you upon request too.

                    3. I live in this area & do most of my everyday grocery shopping at a combination of 1) Trader Joe's (@Santa Monica & Vista), 2) Fresh & Easy (@Hollywood Blvd. & Sycamore), 3) Target (@Santa Monica Blvd. & La Brea) and 4) Ralph's (which you've already noticed). I've been consistently impressed with the freshness & quality of the meats, chicken, etc. at Fresh & Easy, which does do markdowns as "sell by" dates approach, but also has good prices to begin with (IMO). If you're determined to stick with organic, grass-fed, etc., however, you won't find much there. Fresh & Easy also recently expanded its bakery department to include some freshly baked things, and these are also marked down with time. (I got a really tasty ciabatta for 99 cents last week.) I wouldn't buy fresh meats at TJ's (thanks to a couple of shaky experiences), but it's my go-to place for fruits, veggies & the like. I've also found some really nice fruit at Target since they started carrying groceries, and Ralph's often has good sale prices on fruits & veggies if you've got the discount card. I go to the nearby farm markets quite a bit, too, but like you am often limited by the cash-only policy! :( I should also mention that I've actually seen some decent produce -- some of it even organic -- at the 99-cent Store! There's one on La Brea close to Melrose. Good luck!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: katydid13

                        Thanks - I never had good luck with TJs for meats either. Tried and failed a couple of times. I'm pretty determined on the meats to be organic, sustainable, etc. I'd rather eat less of them than compromise on that.

                        Does anyone out there know the prices for this Lindy Grundy meat place? If it's a little boutique, I'm sure it's pricey. They don't list any prices on their site, naturally.

                        1. re: sasha1

                          Lindy and Grundy are not cheap. However, they source very local, buy from their own source. Lovely people. We've always gotten exceptional meat there, it's just not a habit we can keep up. Also, next door to them is a pub I love, The Fat Dog. Good food, great happy hour.